Sunday, December 21, 2008

Long Trail Hibernator


3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (736) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 17, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 Although I’d consider myself a beer connoisseur in general, there are still a few niche styles which I’m not an expert on, notably the Scottish Ale beer. I’ve had one beer of the style which I disliked (Samuel Adams Scotch Ale) and one that I liked (Magic Hat Jinx), so I guess it’s only appropriate that Long Trail Hibernator would fall somewhere in between the two. It’s very mild in taste compared to the other two, but doesn’t have the appeal of Jinx, but at least it isn’t off-putting like the Sam Adams.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

Hibernator poured smoothly to a dark red/orange, hazy body. There was no sediment noticeable, but some carbonation was. It formed a very small, off-white, soapy head which dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The aroma was oddly strong as if it were liquor rather than beer. I didn’t detect any individual ingredients, but an overall sense of spice was present.

TASTE

I’ve been noticing a trend in winter-themed beers lately: they start out tasty and spicy but quickly flatten out and seem almost watery. Long Trail Hibernator is an example of this trend, although this beer still comes out fairly tasty in the end.

Compared to the other two Scotch Ales I have tried, Hibernator is very mild in taste. Honey, brown sugar and caramel seem to be the most distinct ingredients which give the beer a sweet taste, but not nearly sweet enough for me. I was hoping for something spicier or at least stronger-tasting, so I was surprised by Hibernator’s subdued flavor.

Not that it tasted bad, not in the least. In fact, this is a beer which is quite enjoyable to drink but ultimately doesn’t satisfy as much or as well as it should.

FINISH

Since the taste is mild, it wasn’t surprising that the beer was easy to drink. It has a smooth finish as though it were a “lite” and I think the average Joe or Jane Six Pack would have no trouble whatsoever drinking this brew.

BODY

I actually prefer a medium body to a full one. Even the strongest-tasting beers can be off-putting if they are obese. Thankfully, Hibernator is not one of them as I was able to drink two bottles back to back without feeling full. At 6% ABV it’s a pretty strong brew, but this is typical of the Scotch Ale style. Considering its mild flavor, easy finish and relatively light body I think this would actually work well as a Christmas party beer.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ve been complaining too much lately about mild beers so I decided to give Long Trail Hibernator serious consideration before making my final decision. I appreciate its taste, smooth finish and fairly light body. The only bummer is it just didn’t satisfy as much as I would have liked. Still, I can see the non-connoisseur really enjoying this beer. At least it’s enjoyable and I can find no real faults in it which I why I ultimately give it a thumbs-up.

Grade: 7/10